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Manatee gang member gets 30 years in prison

MANATEE — A member of the 3rd Shift street gang has been convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, according to the Florida Attorney General’s Office.

Manatee Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan sentenced Keith Pahrm, 23, to 30 years prison after he reneged on promise to testify against other gang members.

Statewide prosecutors say Pahrm is a member of 3rd Shift, a street gang that “used their gang to control the drug trade in Manatee County,” an attorney general’s report states.

Pahrm and 11 others were arrested in May 2008 on racketeering charges as part of a sweep of alleged 3rd Shift members by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Several of those arrested also faced weapons charges.

Three of the men arrested have already been sentenced to prison terms of eight to 10 years. Two others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, while seven are awaiting trial, according to the attorney general’s office.

Parhm had entered into a plea agreement with the state to testify against other members of 3rd Shift, but he recently refused to do so, leading to his 30 year-sentence today.

For almost two years, the sheriff’s office and statewide prosecutors have sought to break up gangs in Manatee using racketeering laws alleging crimes gang members commit benefit their criminal organization.

In the case of 3rd Shift, previous offenses, mostly for selling drugs, were compiled on those arrested in order to bring racketeering charges, which target groups engaged in a wide range of criminal activities.

At the times of the sweep, sheriff’s officials said 3rd Shift members arrested bought and sold drugs on the street to benefit the gang. They also are suspected of violent home invasion robberies during which drugs and cash were taken.